XCOM 2 Even Longer War


XCOM/X-COM is a series with high stakes narratively, but I always found that it took a degree of dedication to really feel the fear that a good solid failure presented. The ‘Quickload’, ‘Restart Mission’ and even ‘New Game’ buttons are never far away. You also get sluggish and lazy after playing 5 missions in a row on a free evening, the stakes seem to diminish, you are not the saviour of mankind, you are a tired, old, and have stopped caring a little about the details.

The ‘Ironman’ setting goes some way to resolve this by not allowing you to reload or restart a mission, but steady failure and the ‘New Game’ button leers at you each time you launch the game, sure you could play that screwed up campaign or you could take that learning and start a new one. Ultimately burning out altogether on the early game, which is sorta dull in XCOM (the one with no hyphen, 2012 release, hereafter just XCOM), the Long War mod for XCOM was a revolution for me, I enjoyed failing more, had access to more toys from the word go and probably enjoyed another 40 hours of XCOM as a result.

XCOM 2 (2016) seemed to do much the same as Long War, without the same focus on cruel failure at least, it gave you more stuff to be doing, and more interesting ways to fail, but I can’t speak with confidence about XCOM 2 without mods, as I scarcely played it because shortly after I grabbed it from a Humble Monthly Bundle I jumped straight in with XCOM 2 mod Long War 2, but I realised that the stakes would be that much higher if I documented my progress (and probable explosive failure) and I felt that XCOM 2 Long War 2 in it’s majesty deserved that.

Long War 2, along with a smattering of other mods (listed at the bottom) which suited my tastes, I populated my template soldier list with suggestions made by fellows from the RPS forums (though feel free to suggest additions) and got to playing with the following self imposed rules.

  • Commander Difficulty: Ironman Active At this more demanding difficulty things should remain close to unravelling at all times which will make for a good learning experience and keep me in the guerilla mindset, and of course with Ironman, no reloading so failures stick, and retreating from a bad loss just makes sense.
  •  No more than 1 battle a day Failures should hurt, I should hesitate before commiting tothings, I was rattling out half a dozen battles in a sitting I’d just get jaded, but this is not to say I’ll play every day, I have other things to do with my life! Like stare blankly at puzzles in The Witness, and oh my goodness SWAT4 just came out on GOG.com…
  • I’ll document it all Warts and all, too often people play strategy games in AAR’s and YouTube videos easily within their comfort zones and masterfully vanquish all opposition, that isn’t something I’m interested in watching, reading or playing, I want to play at the white hot edge of my ability and screw things up often.
  • No Wikis I’m happy to take tips, the vaguer the better, but my time with the Dark Souls games has taught me appreciate discovery a little, and I want that for XCOM 2.
  • I’ll accept all requests of player names and fashionable stylings etc On the condition that they are PG friendly, but PG movies are pretty fierce these days. But only on Rookies and only one each, if your one dies I’ll let you have a new vessel, naming them after yourself or loved ones is fine, but you may witness their violent death. Just pop them in a comment.
  • No Mullets This rule overrides all preceding rules.

To battle!

NB. This was actually my second pass as the first video had horrifically loud music and I was haunted by the ghost of bad robo voice. But from now on #notakebaxies.

Mods used:

  • ‘Long War 2’ A huge conversion of how XCOM 2 works, or at least i believe so, I’ve barely played XCOM 2 without it.
  • ‘Capnbubs Accessories Pack’ (cosmetic only) Adds some lovely decorations and headwear for your soldiers.
  • ‘Stabilize me!’ Allows you to use the medpack of fallen soldiers on themselves, this technically makes the game easier, but my sanitity demaded the mod once i realised it existed,
  • ‘Free the Hood’(cosmetic only,) Just lets headwear, and indeed hair, run abit closer, sometimes things clip badly, but I trust my own judgement to see if things look dumb and fix them.
  • And the entire “Stop Wasting My Time” collection off Steam Workshop (cosmetic only) This pack is partly redundant with Long War 2, but it does make a few things run smoother

All the mods were installed through Steam Workshop and I’ve not had any crashes or instability despite the mod tower of babel I have constructed.

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